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Yesterday marked six months married. And yesterday I learned why “the pilot light went out” is bad news. Happiest of half-anniversaries!

(Fear not, friends concerned for my still-too-thin Floridian blood… Mom and Dad Yokel loaned us a backup heater, and our landlady’s son sopped by to get the warmth box burning again. Today we have heat. Praise God from whom all blessings flow…)

This is the kind of stuff that people love to warn you about when you’re in the glow of pre-marriage, I suppose… that there’s real life, and sometimes heaters break, dishes need washing, and bills need to be paid. “Marriage is so hard,” they tell you, knowing much better than you do the work it takes.

Some say the first year is the best, with a wistful sigh. Others say it was the worst, that they woke up after the honeymoon and discovered a whole lot to work through.

In the first few months, we were asked, over and over “how’s married life?” If someone asked me that now, six months in, I might have to say “not quite what I expected.”

I’ve always loved the deep significance of wedding ceremonies… two people making crazy vows to love and respect and treasure another person for the rest of their lives. I expected to feel different somehow once those words were said, in the gravity of a binding oath.

I imagined a mythic, epic sense of otherness when he put the ring on my finger — and I suppose it was there, since a well-timed thunderstorm made its presence known when we exchanged rings. (People told me about this later. I think in the moment I was mentally realizing that Pastor Shawn and I had just made a dumb Beyoncé joke in front of everyone…)

In a sense, those things are true. All night, as we danced, laughed, and smiled for way too many pictures, I could feel the awareness that life as I knew it was ending. I felt it right up to the last minute, as Chris was digging balloons out of the backseat of my — wait, our — car and I was hugging as many friends as I could, and one dear woman I’ve known for over a decade looked at me and said, “I just realized… this is goodbye!” We rode off into the rain as Mr. and Mrs. Yokel, we said goodbye to my family and boarded a flight to Maine the next day, and everything, truly, was brand new.

Which brings me here, six months a Mrs. Just a couple weeks ago, I forgot and signed my old name on a receipt. Sometimes, just the right music in my car takes me back to another time, even under a different landscape. And sometimes, just in a texting conversation with friends back in Florida, I feel like the jokes and conversations are carrying right on where they left off.

And at the same time, my life with Chris feels both old and new, like we’ve known each other our whole lives yet we’re just now getting started. Sometimes I realize that just a few years ago one of the dearest people in my life was no more than a very casual acquaintance on the Internet, and that kind of blows my mind.

Love is a funny thing. And a hard thing. And yes, a very, very good thing.

Photo by Mike & Sara Graham

Marriage is better with Tiny Gandalf. Photo by Mike & Sara Graham

Happy Half-Anniversary. It’s probably way too early to borrow this quote, but ever since I came across it, I’ve wanted to hold onto it throughout this journey:

If it’s half as good as the half we’ve known, here’s Hail! to the rest of the road.